Monday, February 13, 2017


Exhibition at Quiltfest
Last week I was a little later than intended in posting to this Blog since I had been busy taking the "1001 Nights" quilts over to Llangollen in North Wales to be exhibited at Quiltfest. I have been involved with this collection of quilts for some time. They are on show at Quiltfest until the 19th February. After this they will travel to Bramble Patch to be exhibited there over Easter this year.

My title stems from the fact that the following quilt should have been finished some months ago. It is finally ready to be handed over.

"1972" being stitched.
The background is built up using pieces of dyecatcher stitched onto fusible wadding. The other fabrics used are thin felt and a sheer fabric which I cut round using a soldering iron. This was to stop the fabric shredding.

More stitching showing the water soluble fabric I use 

The topic of the quilt is the year 1972. It will become part of a Millenium embroidery along with other pieces denoting events from that year. My theme was the first Miners Strike which took place that year trying to stop the inevitable closure of the coal mines around the UK. When I was training as a teacher I found myself observing the lives of the miners and their families since I was based in Doncaster, Yorkshire.

The piece is A4 in size - 7.75" x 11.75" 

Do you ever get the feeling that you have spoken too soon? Well, I suddenly realised whilst writing the above that there was something that didn't look quite finished......... So I will be going back to my sewing machine a little later to get that done. Photos of the completed, fully finished piece next time.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Now to get started

Newly purchased jersey fabrics
 I am determined to get on with sewing projects to make some clothes. At present I have a coat and a lace insert sweatshirt to complete. They are cut out and ready to stitch, but will have to wait for another project which is wildly overdue.......... I'll tell you all about that one another time. I'm prevaricating at the moment. I really need to get on with this A4 quilt, but am having doubts about whether it will be good enough. Yes, I know. I really should shut up and get on with it.

Planning for future dressmaking projects
The lovely fabrics shown above are currently drying. I always wash fabrics before use, and have been delighted with the quality of the fabric which has arrived. I have bought these online from a company I have used before. Fabworks. They use a delivery firm who are very prompt and keep their customers informed about when their parcel is likely to arrive. I do appreciate it when companies give a one hour window in which a parcel will come to my door. The drivers, so far have also been very pleasant.

What got me started on planning a collection of clothes was a Blog post by Maria Denmark. It got me thinking about what exactly I need to make to replace some increasingly shabby clothes in my own wardrobe. Hence the notebook. It might keep me on task............. Unlikely, but it might help.
I plan to turn the two leafy designs into versions of the v-neck cap sleeved dress hiding behind the notebook. The other three patterns are not suitable for use with jersey, but will be used to make use of fabric I already have in my stash. I've wanted a tunic like the Merchant and Mills design for a very long time, so that will be something I should start soon. The grey stripe and the swallows design will be made into summery tops. I am not sure what to make with the purple flying birds fabric. It asks to be made into another dress, but I'm not sure which pattern to use yet.

Recent purchase from Lidl
In the local Lidl over the weekend, I found these thick "pens". The description on the back says "Highly pigmented, water soluble crayons with a creamy, soft consistency.
The brilliant, colour-fast paints blend easily for vivid colour gradients. Mix with water for water colour effects. Use on paper, canvas, wood, etc..."Intriguing. I plan to play with these soon.

Another recent purchase
The previous week I found these. They are acrylic sprays for use in mixed media projects. Again, I can see a play session in my future.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Getting ready to start more projects

Pinfold challenge
Yes, another challenge. The challenge is to make something out of these collections of five inch squares. There are twenty squares in each pack. I still haven't got round to washing and ironing the fabric, but I must think of something soon.

Colour challenge jacket
The completed jacket which I promised I would show you. It is really cosy to wear, just what I need. It caused a bit of a stir when I showed it last Thursday at the NWCQ meeting. It was wonderful to see the variety of pieces made by the other members of the group.

Back of the jacket

Label from inside the jacket
I've also been making a bed for Sasha. Very simple - two metres of polyester wadding folded inside one metre of fleece. I had already made one for Ella some months ago - she really loves her bed, so I thought it a good idea to make one for Sasha too.

Sasha's new bed

Ella's bed, made back in November

The Solar Dyeing experiment, back in July
You may remember my post about trying Solar Dyeing in July. Well, I finally got around to emptying out the jars and washing out the fabric.

The same jars this morning
As you can see, rather a lot has happened to the fabrics in the intervening months. I have not opened the jars, but left them to their own devices. The results are interesting. The Dyers Chamomile, the yellow flowers in the top photo have produced the fabrics below. All yellowy greens. Really interesting colours.

Dyers Chamomile
The second jar was the Medieval Solar collection. This has given a really fascinating collection of colours - from a light yellowy brown to a beautiful reddish brown.

Medieval Solar
At present the fabrics and fibres are still wet. I'm interested to see what they look like once they are dry.

New knitting project
I have another knitting project waiting for me to finish the tension square. It is a new hat. This will match a rather nice cowl which my elder daughter made me for Christmas. This is the same yarn which she used. The cowl already keeps my ears cosy, so having a hat to keep it in position will really help on those walks out with the dogs. The pattern, "Cogges", is designed by Jeni Hewlett and can be found in The Scrumptious Collection Volume one. The pattern is now available as a leaflet since the books is now out of print.

I just have the buttons to add to my waistcoat now. I am still trying to decide whether to go with the turquoise buttons, or whether to go with navy. I could use orange, but I really don't think that would look as nice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What a couple of weeks!

Ella with her new friend Sasha
Well, there has been quite a lot of sewing which I can't show you, as well as some knitting. The sewing cannot yet be shown since it is ready to be unveiled later this week. It is the result of the colour challenge which I organised for NWCQ. I shall post photos after Thursday.

The biggest change over the past few days is that we are now a two dog household. Can I introduce Sasha. She joined Ella in our house just a week ago and has been settling in well. She was a rescue and is around three years old. As you can see she is a similar size and weight to Ella who is a Husky-Akita cross. Sasha appears to be an Akita-Alsatian cross.

My waistcoat is nearing completion. I am just knitting around the border at the moment. The plastic safety pins are showing the positioning of the buttonholes which will be made in a few more rows time. With 712 stitches on my circular needles this is proving to be a bit of a marathon. The pattern asks for a long knitted strip rather than a knitted on border. However, this will work better with my remaining yarn. As you can see I have only knitted two rows of the navy and am continuing with the turquoise. I have just about enough of the navy left to do a final row and also the cast off.

I have also been involved with an exhibition. You can see photos of the stand here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Quilting, knitting and enjoying the countryside

Completed shawl neck cabled jumper
Well, since my last post there has been a completed project - this cabled jumper. The pattern dates from 1989 and the yarn has languished in my stash for rather too long. There wasn't quite enough, hence the decision to add the brown for the shawl collar. The two yarns are the same make and vintage, luckily. The jumper is really cosy to wear too.

Taking up an abandoned project
I started this one back in 2011, so it has been hiding away in my knitting bag for far too long. I had completed the back and half of one front when I got bored with it. Now I am half way up the second front. It will be a sleeveless waistcoat. The pattern is from the Rowan Classic 4ply designs for men and women. The designs are by Martin Storey and the yarn used is no longer available - it is Rowan's Cashsoft 4ply. An unusual purchase for me since I very rarely buy the wool suggested by a knitting pattern. The colours chosen are my own and not that used in the original pattern. The design is called Rosamund.

Close up of some of the pattern
I've also been out walking too. My long suffering dog Ella by my side.She loves the walks, but hates the idea of being the subject of photographs.

Hence the look on her furry face.

My long suffering companion

We had stopped by the river, opposite the weir shown in the photo above. It is a lovely spot with a bench. Perfect for a short stop to sit and admire the scenery.

I have no photos of the quilting as yet. Not any that I can share. The project is the result of a challenge and it needs to be completed before being shared with the NWCQ group. I wrote about it here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

More dressmaking

Collection of cotton interlock jersey ready to use
It has been another busy week here - sadly, I can only tell you about the sewing I'ver done for myself rather than the Christmas presents. These lovely fabrics above came from A company I heartily recommend.

Kwik Sew 2900 - first version
The fabric for my blue top and the green one also arrived from Fabworks. Comfy fabrics, nice and warm. The first version was made exactly as the pattern. I found it a little too roomy and the neck rather lower than I like. So, the green one was made slightly differently with a seam allowance of half an inch rather than the quarter inch required by the pattern. I also doubled the height of the neck. I am much happier with this version.

Kwik Sew 2900 -  version 2
So much so, that I am wearing it as I write this post. You might remember the knitted waistcoat and the skirt with the pockets which were made some time ago.

A me made day

Another top waiting to be sewn
Thi is now waiting for attention, but might have to wait until after Christmas before I can make a start. Another design found in the Love Sewing magazine, issue 34. The sweatshirt has a really interesting lace insert at the shoulder. The design comes from Anna Bruce at Madeit Patterns. The fabrics come from Fabworks. A fleece backed sweatshirting and ribbed fabric.

A new cover for my overlocker
The plastic cover for my overlocker fell apart recently. Using the bits as a pattern I replaced it with a bright and cheerful version made from a scrap of fabric in my stash. This is all that remains of some fabric used years back for beanbags used by my daughters.

My overlocker
My overlocker is currently having a well earned rest before the next project - that sweatshirt. Unless someone needs something else making first.........

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dressmaking and knitting

My finished cowl top
There has been a lot of dressmaking going on over the past couple of weeks. I finished this cowl top after finding the design in issue 28 of "Love Sewing". I also made myself a black camisole to wear underneath since that front drape is extremely low. Both fabrics were found in my stash, which was rather useful.
The magazine article
I now need a pair of dressy black trousers to wear with it. My old ones are becoming rather shabby since they were bought some years ago.

A very nearly disastrous pair of culottes got completed and has been worn a number of times - so cosy and comfortable. I mentioned this briefly in my last post here you may recall. I had cut out the fabric without adding any seam allowances. The pattern originally came from a Burda Style magazine from 2015. Luckily there was a rather large dart in the back of each leg and a large pleat at the front of each leg. Reducing both of these gave me sufficient fabric to complete these, ready to be worn. I didn't have any material left over to remake these since the fabric was a remnant in my stash. Unfortunately, photos are difficult since these are a dark charcoal grey. Such a very stupid thing to do, but I seem to have got away with it.

Finished culottes

I also finished this rather useful and comfortable pinafore dress. The pattern came free with another magazine - the first issue of "Sew Now". I added a second pocket since I would have become rather irritated with only having a single pocket to the right hand side. Again. another piece of grey fabric from my stash.  A very practical colour, but not one that photographs very well in the dull weather we are having at present.

Zoe dress pattern

Completed Zoe with added pocket
I went on to make a couple of "Breton" tops with the pattern in my copy of "From Stitch to Style". These should be nice useful tops for the Spring and early summer. I can wear them now with a light polo necked top underneath for added warmth.

Breton top 
   The first one is a viscose jersey which I picked up in the          remnants section of a fabric shop some months ago.

  The second is cotton interlock jersey which I picked up from   the Quilt Festival at the NEC in Birmingham in August. This   came from Mauds Fabric Finds.

Second Breton top

Interlock cotton jersey waiting to be cut out
These two pieces of fabric are waiting to be cut out and sewn to be added to my winter wardrobe. I intend making the long sleeved polo neck version to help keep me warm. The fabric comes from a selection at Fabworks. I have my overlocker out and ready to start, but have a few Christmas presents to finish first. I hope you will forgive me if I don't share images of those. At least not until after Christmas.
Continuing work on cabled jumper
I'm currently merrily knitting a vintage 1989 cable pattern for a shawl neck jumper. The front is complete and the back is nearing that stage too. The yarn has been in my stash for some time, so it is good to feel that it is no longer languishing in a box. I'm not sure who will be wearing this when it is complete since my husband seems to rather like it...... Ah well, perhaps we can share this one.
Tizzy - completed top
A short while ago I finished this top. The design is by Martin Storey and dates from the time he was working for Jaeger. I used a pale blue yarn which had originally be a short sleeved cardigan. I really didn't like the cardi much, so ripped it back a few years ago. After quite some time hidden away in a box, the yarn has been reused to make this useful little top.

My aim at the moment is to use up as much stash fabric and yarn as I can. I am allowing myself some new fabric, but only if it is the kind of fabric not found in my rather larger stash. I am hoping to eventually make some more space in my cupboards. That way I might even be able to find new homes for some of my bulkier books.